Impressive Norfolk book place in Trophy quarter-finals
- Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010
Norfolk completed an impressive turnaround in fortunes on Sunday to qualify for the quarter-finals of the MCCA Unicorns Knock-out Trophy in some style.
Chris Brown's side recorded their second emphatic victory in eight days to secure second place in Group Two, with Cambridgeshire the latest team to be brushed aside.
Norfolk followed up their six wicket demolition of Bedfordshire at Manor Park with a crushing 168-run triumph at Leys School and now have the prospect of a trip to Lincolnshire to look forward to on Sunday, June 14.
It was all a far cry from a distinctly low-key start to the season, which saw them well beaten at home against Hertfordshire before seeing the derby clash at Suffolk washed out.
Brown's boys needed two wins out of two to stand any chance of making progress after taking just one point from a possible four – and they duly rose to the challenge to make it through to the last eight for the third year in succession.
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The only thing Norfolk lost at Leys School in Cambridge yesterday was the toss - but that proved to be no great problem as the visitors got off to a solid start, with openers James Spelman and Ben France taking the score to 71 before the latter went for 15. There then came the only blip of the day as 71-1 quickly became 72-3, with Spelman being dismissed for 54 and Harry Bush being trapped leg before by the first delivery he faced.
The match could have gone either way at that stage, but Sam Arthurton and Garry Park set about repairing the damage and had put on 76 for the fourth wicket by the time Arthurton went for 46, trapped in front by Joe Barrs. Norfolk professional Park then continued the good work with Jordan Taylor, with a further 74 being added before Taylor went the same way as the man he replaced for a useful 36 in just 30 balls. Park was still there at the end on 70 from 83 balls as Norfolk finished on 245-5 from their 50 overs.
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Cambridgeshire, who knew a win would give them a chance of qualifying alongside group winners Hertfordshire, were in trouble from the moment they lost both their openers with the score on 19, with Ben France bowling Ben Howgego for six and Bush having David Clarke caught by Park for 11.
The modest opening partnership proved to be the home side's biggest of the day as a four-pronged attack of Bush, France, Ashley Watson and skipper Brown got to work.Wickets tumbled at regular intervals and the hosts ended up being skittled out for just 77, with Watson producing the eye-catching figures of 4-18 in eight overs, half of which were maidens. Brown weighed in with 3-15 from seven while France took 2-17.
Suffolk finished level on points with Norfolk, but with a poorer run rate, after beating Hertfordshire by five wickets yesterday. It had appeared likely the group runners-up would visit Northumberland in the last eight but they were thrashed by 239 runs by Cheshire yesterday, allowing Lincolnshire, winners over Cumberland, to join them on six points. It is understood Lincolnshire won their group on run rate to set up a clash with Norfolk, although that has yet to be officially confirmed